MANILA, Philippines -- De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (CSB) finally regained its winning ways in the NCAA Season 95 tournament, after fending off Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC), 62-56, on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
It was CSB's first win since August 30, when they defeated Jose Rizal University (JRU), 74-66. They snapped a six-game losing streak to improve to 7-8, tying Mapua University for a share of fifth place and staying in the hunt for a Final 4 spot.
"At least we got back to our winning ways," said CSB head coach TY Tang. "That's one thing we've been trying to preach. Whatever happens, it's either we win or we learn."
Yankie Haruna led the way for CSB with 16 points and 9 rebounds, while Justin Gutang shrugged off the flu to come off the bench for 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. The Blazers played without center Clement Leutcheu, who is under observation at a local hospital.
The Generals pounced on the undermanned Blazers in the first half, taking a slim 32-31 lead and keeping the game close until the final minutes of the third period, when CSB uncorked a 9-0 run to take a 52-44 advantage heading into the final quarter.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Marwin Taywan and a lay-up by Kriss Gurtiza made it a four-point game, 56-52, with 5:37 left before Gutang's lay-up gave the Blazers some breathing room. The Generals last threatened when Jethro Mendoza nailed a triple to make it a one-possession contest, 58-56, with 67 seconds to go.
But Haruna responded with a clutch bucket, and the Blazers held on for the win.
"We're just gonna keep fighting," said Tang of his Blazers, who no longer control their Final 4 fate.
JP Maguliano had 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Taywan scored 7 of his 11 points in the fourth quarter for EAC.
The Generals, who are already out of the running for a semis spot, dropped to 3-13.
ST. BENILDE 62 -- Haruna 16, Gutang 12, Dixon 7, Carlos 6, Nayve 6, Flores 5, Naboa 3, Belgica 2, Lim 2, Mosqueda 2, Sangco 1, Young 0.
EAC 56 -- Maguliano 12, Luciano 11, Taywan 11, Gurtiza 10, Mendoza 8, Boffa 2, De Guzman 2, Cadua 0, Carlos 0, Corilla 0, Dayrit 0, Estacio 0, Gonzales 0, Martin 0.
Quarter scores: 13-14, 31-32, 52-44, 62-56.
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